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Homemade Sanatorium and Catalan Spinach with Toasted Pine Nuts and Raisins

I sometimes wish I lived in the Old Days. You know the ones where when you were sick (and rich) they would prescribe 6 months rest at the seaside, or 1 year in a sanatorium where all your meals were cooked, room cleaned and you had nothing to do all day but willingly submit to mud baths and “taking the waters” and sitting on manicured lawns watching the world go by.

As I watch old movies, I find it amusing that I can readily suspend disbelief and believe that the chap the fair maiden just spilled soup on is in fact the Prince of Whatsit who immediately swoons at her “cornflower blue eyes” and proposes undying love and affection. But when I see those scenes where everyone packs up their life for a restful escape to more appropriate climes I think, “Yeah, right!!”

I wonder if those things really happened, or if they were like us, refusing or unable to rest because there are bills to be paid and families to be cared for and functions to make an appearance at. This weekend, as I once again realized that I had optimistically over-committed my recovering self, I thought, “There’s got to be a better way.”

I can’t pull up stakes and head off to the Mediterranean for half a year to get better, but can I not play Sanatorium Director for my own self? Providing moments of respite and healing in the midst of the hustle and bustle? So that’s what I’m trying to do. 🙂

I don’t have the manicured lawns of a beautiful, white sanatorium to enjoy, but I DO have my Mum’s garden to wander through, and we did that Sunday afternoon as a gentle rain fell.


I can’t spend 6 months at the seaside, but I am within an hour of coast, river or lake. So on the next sunny free evening, I’m driving to one of them after work, past the beautiful mountains that surround us, to watch the sunset.

 And, last but not least, I don’t have kitchen staff at my beck and call making me the vegetarian meals I must have for a while, but I have fabulous cookbooks with a wealth of nutritious options. This weekend I leafed through my favorite vegetarian cookbook and found Catalan Spinach with Toasted Pine Nuts and Raisins. It was too odd to resist. 🙂

 So I washed and dried spinach, toasted garlic, pine nuts and raisins in olive oil, then tossed everything together with the steamed spinach. Mmmm. 🙂 The toasted nuts and warm fruit play beautifully off each other and provide earthy highlights for the spinach. Delish!
catalan style spinach
 Catalan Spinach and Toasted Pine Nuts and Raisins
(From Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)
2 bunches spinach, stems removed, leaves steamed then chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, sliced
1/3 cup dark or golden raisins
1/3 cup pine nuts
Salt and freshly milled pepper
  1. Warm the oil with the garlic in a wide skillet over medium heat. When garlic is golden, remove to plate.
  2. Add raisins and pine nuts to pan and cook until raisins are plumped and pine nuts golden.
  3. Add spinach and garlic and cook until heated through.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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